Does laughter enhance a wellness lifestyle?
It is sometimes difficult to quantify why laughter is good for us and how it impacts our wellness plan. Laughing is, after all, part of so many things that are important to us. Here are five reasons laughter is good for us, according to the Laughter University.
- Physiological benefits: laughter is a therapeutic ally in healing and a valuable form of preventive and complementary medicine. It provides important natural defenses against illness.
- Mental benefits: laughter diffuses bad stress, enhances problem-solving skills, and creates a new perspective.
- Emotional benefits: laughter elevates moods, counteracts depression symptoms.
- Social benefits: laughter fosters better communication, and improves cooperation and empathy between people. It is a significant lubricant of human communication and relationships.
- Spiritual well-being: choosing to laugh and be positive teaches us to choose to live and be at peace with others, with our self and with our environment in our current situation. It helps us build resilience to stress and find meaning in life.
Dr. Michael Miller of the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the University of Maryland Medical Center says:
Laughter is a complex human behavior, with inherent characteristics involving and reflecting participation of almost every functional element of the human organism. Laughter is ubiquitous in the human world population. No human group has been identified as being devoid of laughter. The most significant study finding was that “people with heart disease responded less humorously to everyday life situations.” They generally laughed less, even in positive situations, and they displayed more anger and hostility.
The ability to laugh – either naturally or as learned behavior – may have important implications in societies such as the U.S. where heart disease remains the number one killer. We know that exercising, not smoking, and eating foods low in saturated fat will reduce the risk of heart disease. Perhaps regular, hearty laughter should be added to the list.
Retrieved from on June 23, 2006 from http://umm.edu/news-and-events/news-releases/2009/laughter-is-the-best-medicine-for-your-heart.
Japanese scientist and geneticist Kazuo Murakami stated: “A laughing therapy has no side-effect, meaning it is an epoch-making treatment for clinical medicine. One day it won’t be a joke to see patients receive a prescription for a comedy video at a pharmacy for medical treatment.”
Retrieved on June 23, 1016 from http://web.archive.org/web/20140522224839/http:/www.theage.com.au/articles/2006/01/12/1136956307785.html.
Laughter falls into five categories.
1. Spontaneous laughter
2. Stimulated laughter
3. Induced laughter
4. Pathological laughter
5. Voluntary simulated laughter
Click here to read more.
Retrieved from http://www.laughteronlineuniversity.com/laughter-important/ on June 22, 2016.
Humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.
Retrieved on June 22, 2016 from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm.
To answer our question is laughter the best medicine? It seems that yes, it will help cure all kinds of ailments. Not that we recommend giving up medical treatment for a trip to Second City, but add a good scoop of laughter to your day and you will be a more effective person. Will it increase your sense of well-being? You bet. Try it, even if you have to force it a bit. I promise you will feel better. As with everything worthwhile, practice makes perfect.
“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” ~ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.